Friday, February 22, 2013

Foundations of Geek: Blog Challenge

Over at the Wasted Lands, Grey Elf has issued a blog challenge. He wants bloggers to tell their formative experiences, and what brought us to the wonderful world of Geek.

So let's keep this rolling.

I was 5 when I saw Star Wars.  The opening sequence with the Star Destroyer changed me on a fundamental level.  But aside from the film, I got Han Solo's blaster pistol for my 6th birthday...and I still have it.  I remember when my neighbor from across the street got his Tuskan Raider and Death Star Trooper figures before I did and we spent an entire day on his porch talking about Star Wars.  We were 6.  I recall calling my local Children's Palace to see if the Jawa figure was in yet.  Star Wars was my Genesis and my Exodus.

Clash of the Titans was the next big moment for me.  It lead me to discover mythology.  However, it also taught me disappointment.  I hated the film and was greatly unimpressed with the action figures.  But over 30 years later, the re-make finally lived up to my expectations.

Then came the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.  It felt different than nearly any other cartoon I'd seen.  I didn't know what DnD was, but the cartoon sang to me.  I remember one Christmas when the B. Dalton's in our local mall set up a display of all of the ADnD books.  I spent that whole trip looking through Monster Manual 1 and feeling this strong connection.  I didn't realize when my Mom said "no" about getting them from Santa that year, that her decision was shaped by the Mazes and Monsters TV movie.

Comic books were next.  Thanks to G.I. Joe I jumped into their four colored world of action and adventure.  It lead me to a store, Comic Book World, where I've been shopping for 30 years.  I work here now and I met my wife here, our kids our here with us most days.

I remember spending hours learning about Earth 1 vs. Earth 2.  Learning scientific concepts from the Guide to the Marvel Universe.  Learning how to draw by looking at the work of Arthur Adams.  It lead me into majoring in Art and getting my degree in Graphic Design.  I lived through the Secret Wars and the Crisis on Infinite Earths.  I watched the Watchmen.  The Dark Knight Returned to me, wholly new and he fought Superman to the death...mostly.  John Byrne and George Perez were drew a world for me to call my own.

Along the way was Thundarr and Transformers, Real Ghostbusters and Misfits of Science, Star Blazers and Robotech.  Each of these new periods was defined as much by toys as by the movies, cartoons, and books that shaped me.  But as I got older, I found that I was tormented for playing with toys.  So I hid who I was.  That's what a geek did.

Eventually, I learned to love to novels.  First it was the Martian Chronicles, then Pride and Prejudice , and finally Return of the Native, all for school though.  Then George R.R. Martin found me.  But wasn't Game of Thrones, it was Wild Cards.  George will always be about the Great and Powerful Turtle, Fortunato, and Dr. Tachyon to me.  Not Ned Stark.  After that it was Brian Lumley's Necroscope, which lead me to H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard and then back to Lumley's short stories and Dreamlands.  I found David Eddings' Belgariad long before Tolkien.

I didn't play my first miniature game until the summer after my freshman year at the College of Mount Saint Joseph.  It was Battletech, but we each played a single Mech and we ran our Pilots in and out of the armor.  By Christmas we were playing Champions and I never looked back.

Around the end of my sophomore year, I mentioned to my Mom that we were going to be playing AD&D.  She confessed to me that she worried about the "effect" it would have on me when I was younger and that's why I didn't get "those books" for Christmas.  Its the only concern she ever showed about my interest in gaming and comics.

As a Geek, I've gone through the stages.  I hid as a middle schooler and high schooler.  I began to let it shape me in college and fly my Geek flag once I got into the working world.  I asserted it even, in my late twenties.  But these days, I just like who I am and don't care to be someone I'm not.  If you get me, we're friends, if not then I'll be polite to you.  I don't need to accepted, because I accept who I am.
Sure, maybe Walking Dead is the king of TV and the latest blockbusters are comic books, but I don't need the mainstream to get me.  I'll say it again, I don't need the mainstream's acceptance, because I accept who I am.

My name is Mark and I am a Geek, enter freely and of your own will.


The Grey Elf said...

Love it--can't believe I forgot about Clash of the Titans! I could edit but I have to presume it wasn't "formative" if I didn't remember it. Same with Krull. I loved that flick as a kid, but it didn't come to mind when I posted the blog.

Cross Planes said...

I think it resonates with me because of the mt dissatisfaction with it.


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